Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Chips’

You’ve heard of Blondies right? They’re basically brownies, but the dough isn’t chocolately. It’s butterscotch instead due to the combination of brown sugar, butter, and vanilla! I just knew I wanted to make brownies this weekend, so I took to my many bookmarked recipes and decided on not brownies, but blondies since I figured they would knock out my craving without being quite as heavy as their dark chocolate cousins. After I had decided, Nick suggested I check in my new favorite book, Baking Illustrated (a very amazing gift provided by my very amazing boyfriend), to see if they had any suggestions on the preparation. I think my love of this cookbook really warrants a full and complete appreciation post, but let me just say it’s the best thing in the universe. The people at America’s Test Kitchen go through a million and twelve different scientific tests of their baked goods, from trying out different brands of flour to see which makes the most tender cookie, to which type of teaspoon is best. The cookbook is like pornography for bakers and I’ll leave it at that.

So I decided to use the Baking Illustrated recipe for Blondies because the faith I have in those folks is overwhelming. I adapted it a bit to suit my needs, using golden brown sugar instead of light brown because I prefer a more rich brown sugar taste (though the book does make a note that tasters found dark brown sugar to be too overpowering). The recipe called for white chocolate chips as well, but since we didn’t have any, I just doubled up on my semi-sweet. They came out amazing, nice and chewy with a sweet butterscotch flavor lying over the chocolate. The chopped pecans added a great texture element and really brought the whole thing together. Just a few hours after I made them, the pan was reduced to just two small pieces! I love when my baked goods get gobbled up so fast.

The two big keys to this recipe, according to the cookbook, are using melted butter and mixing by hand. Creaming the butter with the sugar and using a mixer incorporates too much air into the batter and won’t yield the chewy, dense texture that still has lots of flavor.

Blondies: Adapted from Baking Illustrated

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F with the rack in the middle position.
  2. Prepare your baking pan. Note: I used a 13×9 pan, as per the book’s instructions, but I found the batter didn’t quite spread to the edges. In the end, the blondies rose enough so that the ends weren’t too crusty or unappealing, but if you really want a thick and chewy morsel, you could probably use an 8×8 brownie pan. Line the pan using two pieces of aluminum foil placed perpendicular over each other so some foil extends out of the pan. This extra foil will serve as handles, make extraction from the pan very easy! Spray the foil with non-stick spray.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. This basically smells like heaven, just so you know.
  5. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the brown sugar mixture until just combined. Do not overmix!
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  8. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with the rubber spatula.
  9. Bake for about 22-25 minutes (Mine took about 28 minutes) until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch.  The edges will also be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  10. Cool completely in the pan, then, using the foil handles, lift the blondies from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into pieces of whatever size you prefer and serve for happy eating!

Butterscotch and pumpkin? I didn’t think it could work either. But when Annie of the oh so fabulous Annie’s Eats pronounced these pumpkin cookies to be her favorites of all time, I took a leap of faith and tried them out (though honestly it was more like a tiny jump, since I love all the flavors).

Set your oven to 325F. After you grab all your ingredients, keep an eye out for sneaky kitties wandering around eying your treats

Then you mix two cups of flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt

And a heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon

A gentle whisking will mix everything up nicely, then you can set that bowl aside and grab another

In it you should put 1 cup of sugar

And two eggs!

Then, beat just these two ingredients until you have a smooth liquid that is very light

Just like this! Wonder Baker Tip: err on the side of using your bigger mixing bowls for wet ingredients because, more often than not, you’ll be adding your dry ingredients to the wet ones and not the other way around

Speaking of wet, it’s time to add 1 cup of pumpkin to your egg goo

Along with 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil

And a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Doesn’t the vanilla in the oil look really cool? I think so.

Blend that up until nicely combined

And then add your dry ingredient mixture. My bowl was big enough to add it all at once, but if you have a smaller bowl, add in halves or thirds

When that’s all combined, you’ll get a lovely orange dough that’s not too thick or sticky

Now, my sister is a little picky and doesn’t like butterscotch, so at this point I decided to separate out just a small amount of the cookie batter into another bowl and fold in some of my leftover mini chocolate chips from the pumpkin bread. That way she could still get some cookies and we’d have a different flavor on hand too.

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that was a little less than a third of the batter overall. And I didn’t measure out the chocolate chips, I just dumped them in there until it looked right.

And the rest of the batter got just under a full cup of butterscotch chips folded right in.

To my sister’s delight, the chocolate batch ended up yielding nine whole cookies for her. I decided to set my timer for 12 minutes, though the recipe stated 14-16, because they seemed a little smaller than the ones in the recipe and it’s always good to check early.

Meanwhile I prepared a batch of butterscotch! For scooping, I just used a tablespoon measuring cup and plopped them onto the baking sheet using another spoon to scoop out. If you’ll notice, I didn’t have any parchment paper or silicone baking sheets, so I just lined my cookie pans with wax paper. It seemed to work out just fine.

After 12 minutes precisely, the chocolate chip cookies were finished. The toothpick came out clean and they looked amazing!

Just look at those bottoms! Set up perfectly with a little bit of browning on the edge, but the entire cookie is still fluffy and wonderful inside. I was extremely impressed with my choice of cooking time, if I do say so myself 🙂

I baked all my batches for 12 minutes and they all were perfectly done. Including this bonus batch which had butterscotch and chocolate chips in it! It was fun to just toss chips around into everything.

Oh wow, look at those! Now, one thing that was strange was the butterscotch chips didn’t seem to want to stay inside the cookie dough. They rolled out to the sides and even formed little craters as the cookie baked. The ones that were sticking out on the sides tended to stick to the wax paper, making it tricky to get the cookies off. So if you’re making these cookies, try to form them before you bake so that there aren’t any butterscotch chips sticking out on the sides. You can do this by just pushing them on top with a spoon or adding a little more of the dough to the edges around. It’s not a problem at all if they stick out, but this could make your life a little easier later

Hey, it’s the pumpkin bread I made earlier and a whole bunch of wonderful little cookies! I found that the pumpkin and the butterscotch worked great together, but the ones with both kinds of chips were probably my most favorite! Compared to the bread, the cookies are much fluffier and tend to get moist on the tops when you store them, but it’s not a soggy moisture so don’t worry about that. Pumpkin cookies are one of my favorite parts of fall and I hope you enjoy them too!

Check out the full recipe here at Annie’s Eats and have a  very happy eating!

It’s October! Well, I guess it’s been October for half a month now, but that’s beside the point. It was about time I got to some real fall baking and busted out the cans of pumpkin puree. When it came down to asking what pumpkin-y treats to make first, the choice was pretty much made for me by my insatiable family. There was no other option but a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread I had clipped out of the Betty Crocker Fall Baking Catalog (that’s the one with Bakerella on the cover, in case you didn’t know!). Sure, it’s not really a “bread” in the sense that it has no yeast, but it’s a moist and dense bread-like loaf cake and I think we should be able to call it whatever we want.

Wow, look at that big can of pumpkin! I didn’t use all of it in this bread, but that’s a story for another blog post. Also there shouldn’t be salt in that picture, but there should be eggs. My mistake.

After you set your oven to 350F, take a 9×5 loaf pan, or as close as you can get, and grease the bottom up. I didn’t have any real butter, so I had to use Pam. I don’t think anyone ever really notices though.

Toss a stick (1/2 cup) of softened butter into a bowl

And dump a whole cup of sugar on top

A cup of pumpkin goes right on top. Pumpkin is not the most pleasant smelling squash, but at least it tastes good when it’s all cooked up

After you’ve cracked in your two eggs, you’ll get this exciting and colorful mess. It’s about to get a lot messier though.

We were actually preparing two batches of pumpkin bread in two separate bowls! This one, as you can clearly see, we mixed with an electric hand beater. But we also tried mixing another one completely by hand to see if we got any different results in the texture.

But it proved to be quite difficult mixing by hand, we couldn’t get all the butter broken up

So we had to take the hand mixer to it anyway. It looks much more smooth now.

Add 2 cups of flour to your orange mush

1 teaspoon of baking soda

A heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon

And a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin pie spice is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, so you could really just toss a pinch of each in there if you don’t have any premixed. I love the contrast in the spice colors, baking is so beautiful!

The electric mixer will make all sorts of fun shapes in your bread dough

And this time we did manage to get an even blend with a plain wire whisk! They look pretty similar though, but who knows how they’ll bake.

Oh boy chocolate chips! A cup of mini-semisweets is a whole lot of chocolate chips, but I would like to think no one here has a problem with that

Look at that gorgeous dough. Halloween colors!

Dump the whole bowl into your loaf pan. Shake it out, scoop it out, whatever works! You might have to spin and bang the pan on the counter to get it even.

Pop your bread right into the oven where it will stay for 55-65 minutes! As a Wonder Baker Tip, always use the smallest of the recommended times, or even smaller if you think you have a real hot oven. Baked goods can always be put back into an oven, but once something is burned there’s not too much you can do.

Bread success! If your toothpick comes out clean, it’s done! I really love that crack in the top

And look at those fine crusty sides. If they’re a browner than the top or bottom, that’s nothing to fear.

Inside is a chocolate chip minefield! We cut both loaves open and found that the one mixed with the whisk didn’t rise quite as much as the one baked with the electric mixer, but other than that there was really no textural difference. The taste was truly fantastic with the pumpkin pie spice adding a great spicy punch that didn’t get overpowered by the chocolate. My dad’s serving recommendation is to pop the loaf in the freezer and let it sit for just a few minutes before slicing and enjoying. Though it’s great at any temperature, especially with a pumpkin spice espresso!

Oh, wondering about those cookies in the background there? Well stay tuned, for fall has only just begun and there are more fantastic pumpkin treats to come!

Happy Eating!

Read the rest of this entry »

Ever since I started the baking blog, I’ve been baking more frequently, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started getting some special requests. When my dad told me what he really wanted was a good oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips instead of raisins, I was all too happy to oblige. It also worked out that I would be hanging out with a good friend of mine and fellow wonder-baker-in-training, so I had the fantastic opportunity to make something special for my dad and spend time baking with a great friend. Hooray!

First preheat that oven up to a toasty 325F. Incidentally, that’s also the perfect temperature for roasting pumpkin seeds! Just a fun fall fact for you 🙂

Then it’s the gathering of the ingredients! I always really love this part, going on scavenger hunts for everything you need and making shopping lists for baking is just kind of fun. Is that weird? Oh well.

And then, like any good wonder baker should, wash up those hands! Pictures of yourself actually working is another great bonus when you’re baking with a friend.

Pop your 1 cup (that’s 16 tablespoons) of softened butter into your bowl. Yes, I did poke the butter to see if it was soft enough, but that’s okay because I washed my hands!

And then you add a cup of packed brown sugar. The recipe calls for light brown, but I prefer dark so that’s what I used. The flavor of dark brown sugar is just much more intense and molasses-y, but if that’s not your preference, go with light brown. If you ever doubted how much I love brown sugar, I hope this picture clears it up for you.

Wonder baker Ruby measured out the 1/2 cup of white sugar

And they all went in the bowl together!

Ruby’s hand mixer is sadly crippled and only has one beater. I like it though, it still gets the job done.

See, it’s the little hand mixer that could!

Look at Ruby work that buttery sugary goodness. And check out her adorable apron! It has pockets! I love it.

It’s already looking pretty great, but there’s still lots to add

Like grabbing your two eggs and mixing them in one at a time

Once they’re all mixed in, your batter will lighten up a little bit

Then you can add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Then, instead of grabbing another bowl, we mixed up our dry ingredients in the big measuring cup. First, scoop in your 1 and 1/4 cups of flour, then you can add your teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. We just stirred them all together in the cup and then added to the bowl of wet stuff. Easy peasy!

As you start blending up your dry ingredients, it’ll probably fly all over like it tends to do

So make sure you grab a spatula and scrape down the sides, folding the extra flour on top of the batter so it’ll stick and mix in easier

Then you toss in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Now, a word of caution: chocolate, especially the dark chocolate I love to use, is a little overpowering, If you’re concerned about losing the flavor of the cookie, err on the side of a little under a cup. However, if you make your cookies big enough, there will be a good balance! So maybe do a little experimentation with your cookie sizes, baking in small batches just to see how different amounts bake up until you find a size that’s got the perfect balance for you. It takes a little longer, but the results are worth it.

Then you mix in a whopping 3 cups of quick oats. The oats will completely drown your dough, so really getting them mixed in there is a task to test any wonder baker!

But you can get them all in there.

Don’t forget your cup of chopped walnuts too, if that’s something you enjoy. We only used half a cup, since we made a small batch with no nuts for my picky mother.

To start making your cookies, take any old spoon and scoop out a heaping spoonful. I thought that would make them too big, but as I mentioned before, the big cookies provide the best balance of the flavors. Plus oatmeal cookies need to be nice and thick to have that wonderful chewiness! Wonder baker Ruby was really good at efficiently scooping cookie dough.

And she used the equally effective two-spoon method for dropping them onto our cookie sheet! She was truly a wizard with cookie dough.

And here they are all ready for the oven. We probably could have fit more on the sheet, but at this point I was still experimenting with cookie sizes and baking times, so we were doing small batches.

Batch number one (the nutless). As you can see, these ones were much too small when they were rolled out, so they flatted out too much, making a thin cookie that made the chocolate a little too overpowering when you took a bite

And because they were too thin, the bottoms didn’t really set up all the way and were flimsy. I found the best way to eat these kind of cookies was to fold them in half to get a good bite

The next few batches, however, came out the perfect size! They needed longer than the suggested 12 minutes to cook all the way. The bottoms are the best way to tell if your cookies are done. Keep an eye on the edges to see if they brown up, or, if you can, lift with a spatula when you think they’re about done.

You might get some burned ones, if you put them on the bottom rack of your oven

But you might get some that are cooked beautifully! Hopefully that will be most of them, but if not, don’t worry. It’s always good to remember that there are people who like all the states of cookedness, even the burnt ones!

They were really tasty. Nick even said that if I sold them, people would buy them! That’s a great compliment for wonder bakers everywhere, in my opinion.You can pack them up in lots of ziploc bags for easy transport to all the people you want to share them with (I ended up with 6 separate batches for different people!) so you can have a wonderful time spreading cookie joy to all!

Happy Eating!

Read the rest of this entry »